A novel nanobody broadly neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 via induction of spike trimer dimers conformation

This study describes a novel nanobody that could induce the trimer dimers conformation of the Spike protein to neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 infection. This nanobody exhibits a broad neutralizing spectrum against various SARS-CoV-2 variants and has the potential to be administered through inhalation.


The ongoing mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 pose serious challenges to the efficacy of the available antiviral drugs, and new drugs with fantastic efficacy are always deserved investigation. Here, a nanobody called IBT-CoV144 is reported, which exhibits broad neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV-2 by inducing the conformation of spike trimer dimers. IBT-CoV144 was isolated from an immunized alpaca using the RBD of wild-type SARS-CoV-2, and it showed strong cross-reactive binding and neutralizing potency against diverse SARS-CoV-2 variants, including Omicron subvariants. Moreover, the prophylactically and therapeutically intranasal administration of IBT-CoV144 confers fantastic protective efficacy against the challenge of Omicron BA.1 variant in BALB/c mice model. The structure analysis of the complex between spike (S) protein, conducted using Cryo-EM, revealed a special conformation known as the trimer dimers. This conformation is formed by two trimers, with six RBDs in the “up” state and bound by six VHHs. IBT-CoV144 binds to the lateral region of the RBD on the S protein, facilitating the aggregation of S proteins. This aggregation results in steric hindrance, which disrupts the recognition of the virus by ACE2 on host cells. The discovery of IBT-CoV144 will provide valuable insights for the development of advanced therapeutics and the design of next-generation vaccines.

Author list:

Yang Yang†*, Junfang Zhang†, Shengnan Zhang†, Chenhui Zhang†, Chenguang Shen†, Shuo Song, Yanqun Wang, Yun Peng, Xiaohua Gong, Jun Dai, Chongwei Xie, Tatyana Aleksandrovna Khrustaleva, Vladislav Victorovich Khrustalev, Yongting Huo, Di Lu, Da Yao, Jincun Zhao*, Yingxia Liu*, Hongzhou Lu*

How to cite:

Y. Yang, J. Zhang, S. Zhang, C. Zhang, C. Shen, S. Song, Y. Wang, Y. Peng, X. Gong, J. Dai, C. Xie, T. A. Khrustaleva, V. V. Khrustalev, Y. Huo, D. Lu, D. Yao, J. Zhao, Y. Liu, H. Lu, Exploration 2023, 20230086.